Hayes (Kent) History

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Hayes (Kent) History

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Hast Hill, Baston Manor Road

From 1887

Hast Hill, built on land on the edge of Hayes Common belonging to Sir John Farnaby Lennard of Wickham Court, occupied a commanding view with 12 acres of land. It was a large house with 16 bedrooms, a library, billiard room, dining room and large drawing-room.

It was first sold in 1887 to Charles Challenor Smith, a retired merchant, whose seven children in the 1891 Census were aged from 1 to 18, the youngest born at Hayes.

The Knowles Family

Four years later, in 1895, he left Hayes and leased the property to a merchant banker William Knowles who moved there with his family.  William had died by the 1901 Census when his wife and two of his daughters, Mabel, age 26, and Evelyn 21 are recorded there. Mabel Knowles, also known as the author May Wynne, wrote many of her books here from 1895. She became a prolific writer of fictional and improving works for both adults and children.

 Hast Hill was bought by Mrs Knowles in 1915.

World War 1

During the First World War, Hast Hill was used at first for the reception of convalescent and wounded soldiers. In 1916 two rooms were set aside for an annexe to the Canadian Military Hospital at Bromley Court.

From 1924 to post-war Hayes

Mrs Emma Knowles died in 1924 and the contents of the house were put up for auction. The house was sold to F H Rogers. The following year it was resold to Granville McAlpine, son of Robert McAlpine and a partner in his father’s construction company. Three years later he died at the age of 45 and his widow sold the property to H T King who lived there until 1956. Permission was given for the property to have a change of use to the offices of Pattullo Higgs, agricultural merchants.  The residential character of the house and grounds had to be maintained.

Forty years later Honeygrove Developments bought the house and it reverted to residential use and was converted into luxury apartments.